With all the recent noise concerning the SDCC Lego exclusive minifigures and the M*** B**** e-mail letters popping up, I started thinking, "Well who can really match Lego's quality?" Enter Minimates....
I've been collecting comic books for years. I'd be lying if I didn't say they were my true passion. Part of the fun in collecting comics is making frequent trips to your local comic book store. Over the years, I've noticed some very Lego-like collectables called MiniMates hanging on the shelves. At first glance, MMs are very similar in appearance to minifigures but there are slight differences but I'm not here to discuss similarities...its the licenses and following these little imposters have picked up over the years that are important.
MiniMates made their first appearance in stores around 2002. Created by Art Asylum, Minimates were instantly able to carve a niche in the comic collectable market with a licensing agreement with Marvel. Since that time, Art Asylum have aquired more licenses and put out wave after wave of wannabe Lego figures, picking up a respectable following in the process. MiniMates presence at comic conventions is a testament to their appeal. Even after all, however; they 're still just a bunch of phony Lego Minifigures!
At the time of MiniMates release, I don't recall Lego having any real licenses other than Stars Wars and Harry Potter (I'm so not a Lego historian). Doesn't take a crystal ball or a deck of tarot cards to see Art Asylum took advantage of Lego Minifigures timeless popularity and Marvel's large fan following to create a product that appealed to a respectable range of people. Perhaps it was MiniMates instant success that propelled Lego into its very first Spider-Man and Batman sets a decade ago....
Flash foward to 2011. During the summer, Lego releases 4 exclusive DC superhero minifigures for the SDCC (Good year, right? @samiam391)
. These minifigires, of course, become an instant classic. The following year Lego unveils it's Marvel range
by offering up exclusive Marvel minis in addition to the DC figures at San Diego. Again, instant success! As a result of this success, Lego is able to carve out its on niche at the world's largest showcase of pop culture (Right?).
So what's the point of all this, you ask? Fair question, I'll tell you...The time has come for Lego to take down Minimates! I believe it's a no brainer. Lego's CMF range has proven that minifigures don't need a fancy set to sell. Couple that success (My favorite word!) with the popularity of the LotR, Hobbit, Star Wars, Superheros, Harry Potter, Indiana(A swell name for a child! :D) Jones, and all the other ranges whose names escape me and I guarantee you that the folks at Art Asylum will start turning pale and get a nasty bout of the shakes.This tends to happen when you're time is at an end.
So what do think? Should Lego's CMF branch out to into pop culture icons. Is there a large market for such a collectable? I believe so...I definitely think its time for the Lego CMF to encompass ALL of pop culture!